“Look what they done to my song ma Look what they done to my song Well it’s the only thing That I could do half right And it’s turning out all wrong ma Look what they done to my song
Look what they done to my song ma Look what they done to my song ma Well they tied it up in a plastic bag And turned it upside down ma Look what they done to my song”
With one episode remaining in season five, and the show’s fate still unknown, social media’s been abuzz with chatter about the NBC series “The Blacklist,” after the season’s penultimate episode aired. Although to a person the show’s fans want to see their longtime favorite renewed, the grumbling among the fan-base’s has increased in volume. There are even those who have dared to pose the question, that’s known to make show-runner’s blood run cold, and remove any remnants of a tan. “Has The Blacklist Jumped The Shark?”
You likely weren’t born when the ABC series “Happy Days,” first broadcast the episode in 1977, that thrust the phrase into the American lexicon. In the show’s fifth-season opener, the gang from Milwaukee found themselves in Hollywood. In Fonzie’s quest to become the next James Dean/Elvis Presley of the silver screen, he put on water-skis, and literally pulled a stunt Evil Knievel, might have thought twice about.
The phrase eventually took on the connotation, signifying that a television series had peaked and was on the downward trend. Some series recover from that perception, another ABC series “Lost,” hit a rough patch until the show-runners and the network agreed on how long the series would run. There’s no definitive time period that a series exists after receiving that diagnosis. Some shows wither and die quickly, while others hang on for years, they are those series you stumble across while channel surfing, and you think, “is that still on?”
Let me state upfront that I’m not in the Jumped The Shark category, (a phrase from here on out that will be referred to as “JTS.”) However, I’ve got problems with the shows last two episodes in particular, and of season five in general. In season’s passed, we’ve experienced excitement and anticipation as each season’s finale approached. This year’s conversation’s morphed into, they better give me a reason to come back!
Season number five has progressed in fits and starts, beginning with a greatly needed light tone after all the loss in the previous campaign. However even in the season premiere, moments after watching Raymond dancing with Lizzie, we witnessed what we’d come to find was a flash-forward to the fall season finale. A scene that showed us a bloody and beaten Tom Keen, lying on the floor as Reddington and Dembe, burst through a door brandishing pistols.
The perceived reboot didn’t last for long. Reddington’s fortunes turned around quickly, ditching hand-me-downs and the Terra Vista Motor Lodge, and back to a manner he had grown far more accustomed to, Soon he lived in a luxurious suite complete with private elevator, and a personal chef named Paris. The episodes took on a darker tone, as Tom and Nik Korpal undertook a mission that would ultimately cost them. trying to identify the bones in the suitcase Kate dug up from Tansi Farms. The tone of the show would be altered irrevocably, to the cheers of some and the tears of others.
We’ll have time during the Summer to debate whether killing off Ryan Eggold’s character turned out to be a good move for the series. (I recently read Jon Bokenkamp, respond to a question if Tom would return, saying that the show’s had other character’s seemingly return from the dead. Any move like that would destroy the series’ credibility, no matter how popularly it could be received. You made your move Jon, now you live with the ramifications of that decision.)
File this if you like under pet peeves, but the series took a ten month jump in time when Elizabeth emerged from her coma. Given the extent of her injuries, it’s likely it took her at least eighteen months, for her to get into the shape she was in when she journeyed to Alaska. Agnes was a baby in a high-chair, unable to talk when Tom confessed to her about his role in identifying the bones. However she appeared to be about four, or five, when Keen left her with Scottie Hargrave. How could the date of the paper reporting Maybelle being found have been May, 2018? The Blacklist Universe should be somewhere in the midst of the year 2020, not in-sync with our reality. Continuity’s vital to maintaining a story, something the writer’s seem to have forgotten.
Since the show returned to the airwaves in January, we’ve watched a young woman who felt such remorse over the harbor-master’s death, that she sold her condo and anonymously gave the money to his widow and daughter, turn into a heartless killer. While Elizabeth Keen was hardly a babe in the woods when we met her, she’s evolved into “DIRTY LIZZIE,” a cross between Clint Eastwood’s Harry Callahan, and Charles Bronson’s “Death Wish,” character.
We could understand her going all vigilante, and taking out all four of the hitmen that she encountered in Alaska, and she accidentally killed Bobby Navarro, in self-defense. However she went way over the top when she utilized the “Stew-Maker’s” methods, to dispose of Navarro’s corpse. We’ve watched Donald and Harold wrestle with their dark-sides, Ressler even employing Henry Prescott, but when push came to shove, they reverted back to form. Keen can never come back from that decision.
The show writer’s seem to have lost the consistency which among other qualities, made this series’ beloved by its fans, especially during the first three seasons. Season four’s scorched earth battle between Mr. Kaplan and Reddington, didn’t sit well with many fans, and this season’s sometimes glacial pace has turned many longtime viewers off. After revealing Ian Garvey’s a dirty cop in February, what have we learned other than Garvey’s declaration to Jennifer Reddington, that she spent a lifetime hiding for no reason?
We head into the fifth season finale, essentially trying to fit a ten-pound sausage into a five-pound casing. Suddenly after months of stagnation Season Five Episode 22, has become “Cliff-Hanger Central.” Who is Sutton Ross, and what’s his connection to Garvey and Reddington? Will Samar Navabi emerge from her coma and get her “Happily Ever After,” with Aram? Will Aram face charges in the death of Nicholas T. Moore, or will Harold look the other way? Is Naomi Hyland actually dead, and if so why didn’t Reddington know about it? Is Lillian Roth, indeed Jennifer Reddington, and if not, what was her connection to Garvey?
Why’s Keen whose only objective was to avenge Tom’s death by killing Garvey, now interested in the contents of the duffel bag? Will Raleigh Sinclair and Anthony Pagliaro serve time for the death of Zarak Mosadek? Will we encounter Dominic Wilkinson in the episode, and will he reveal to Keen he’s her grandfather? We haven’t even mentioned the identity of the bones that Ross now apparently has.
Has this confluence of events, been Jon Bokenkamp’s master plan all along? Has the basis of this series always come down to what’s going on between Lizzie and Raymond? Will The Blacklist members turn out to be as anti-climactic, as the numbers on “Lost“? Was the concept of this series always just about whom Raymond Reddington actually is, and the role he’s played throughout Keen’s life? Jon’s often times mentioned his BIBLE, the framework a show-runner puts together, before they begin writing an initial script. I often wonder just how much he’s adhering to it?
It’s likely foolish to expect all the questions I posed here, in one episode. However at the very least, fans deserve to know Raymond’s secret before the series, goes on Summer hiatus. I’ve anticipated that they’d hold off revealing that the Real Reddington’s bones are in the duffel bag, and that we’ll finally find out “OUR RAYMOND’S,” real identity, as Etta James would say “AT LAST.”
Season Five Concludes Wednesday May 16, at 8:00pm on NBC.
This week’s episode of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” contained more twists and turns than a ride along the California coast, on US Highway 101. Although this installment featured some very funny moments, the tone in general was far darker than the first two episodes of season five, beginning with the opening sequence. The Task-Force spent the hour attempting top stop a very deadly member of the Blacklist, while Raymond, Dembe, and some friends both old and new, focused on acquiring Reddington some new assets.
Aside from the two main storylines, the bones inside the valise got closer to being identified, while Donald Ressler’s fixer started calling in favors, so he’d remain mum about the FBI Agent’s involvement in the death of Laurel Hitchin. Plus Raymond had to part ways with the Terra Vista Motor Lodge, after some criminals tracked his new location.
Rather than going with our usual play-by-play format in this recap, We’re going to change things up concentrate more on the bullet-points of the episode, and what they signify in the short-term, as well as how the season progresses. Although the Task-Force and Raymond and company, took two different paths throughout the evening, we saw the paths intersect as the hour came to its conclusion.
The Blacklist Members Of The Week
The Task-Force found themselves investigating what appeared to be a rash of “Killer-Cops,” uniforms paid to execute innocent victims, who had the misfortune to get scammed by a shady financial company. Waterday Financial made deals withy some plaintiffs in a class-action suit, that caused the plaintiffs brain-damage due to lead-paint exposure as children. Waterday took advantage of the plaintiffs limited mental capabilities and gave them a lump-sum payout, for far less money than they would have received through the original settlement.
The company took out six figure life-insurance policies on the plaintiffs, then coerced police officers in tight financial situations to kill the plaintiffs, while making it look like a good kill in the line of duty. We watched one of the executions play out during the opening sequence, as two young uniformed patrolman enter the apartment of a junkie on parole, with a warrant for his arrest. The officers split up to search the premises, and one of the patrolman named McGinnis finds the suspect washing dishes.
The suspect asks for mercy because he’s been using and doesn’t want his parole officer to find out, but something’s hinky. McGinnis stands in front of the suspect Scottie Stansbury, shaking with his weapon drawn. He then whispers “Sorry Scottie,” and pumps a shot into his chest, killing Stansbury instantly. His partner Parker shouts for McGinnis, who quickly pulls another gun from his sock, fires two shots into the wall and puts the gun in the dead man’s hand. Parker assumes that McGinnis had no choice but to shoot the suspect, and McGinnis pretends that’s what occurred,
The patrolman’s questioned by his chief, who tells him he’s certain that McGinnis’ will get cleared by Internal Affairs, but he’s got to go home and get a lawyer. Instead we watch him meet a blonde attractive woman wearing dark glasses in his car. She informs him that the money’s gotten transferred into his account, and the patrolman says he didn’t think carrying out the execution would be that hard. The woman responds that the officer’s still alive, unlike Scottie Stansbury.
Raymond gives Lizzie Keen the heads-up that McGinnis executed Stansbury, and that the dirty cop would lead to the next member on the Blacklist. Keen informs the Task-Force, and Cooper send her and Ressler out to interview the two patrolman, with Keen getting assigned to interrogate McGinnis. She meets with Ressler after the interrogation, and tells her partner that the cop’s dirty.
Keen and Ressler go to speak with Scottie’s parents and their attorney, who identifies herself as Rebecca Thrall, but she’s the blonde that met with McGinnis earlier. We find out That Scottie suffered brain-damage due to the lead-paint exposure and that he made the deal to accept the lump-settlement without discussing it with them. The parents break down crying when they say that the officer murdered their boy, and that Scottie never had anything to do with guns.
Ressler’s cellphone keeps ringing while he and Keen are interviewing the parents, it’s Henry Prescott demanding that Ressler get a car out of the police impound immediately, or he’ll call his boss. Liz asks what’s going on and Donald says that a friend of his is in trouble and he’s attempting to help him. Keen tells Ressler that she’s got the situation handled and go help his friend. Ressler calls Prescott, and says he’s not his errand boy, Prescott replies that the agent’s his indentured servant. Donald says that if Prescott says anything he’ll implicate himself as well, the fixer says that Ressler doesn’t know if Prescott’s willing to do just that, then threatens the agent to call his bluff.
Aram does some digging and discovers that Waterday, not only paid out the lump settlement to Stansbury, they also recently gave a substantial loan to Officer McGinnis. Keen and Samar question Waterday Financial executive named Johnson, who tells the agents that the situation’s just circumstantial. He says that the company’s granted a large number of loans this year, and quite a lot of them were granted to police officers. He also tells the agents that they only got reimbursed for $62 thousand of the $100 thousand they paid to Stansbury, so they lost a substantial amount of money when he died.
Keen asks to look at the company’s records, and Johnson asks her if she’s got a warrant? She responds that she could get one, and he scoffs at her and says good luck trying. He tells her it’s far more difficult to secure such a warrant than she imagines. He tells her and Navabi to come back when they get one, and he’s correct as the court refuses the request.
Rebecca Thrall’s in the midst of recruiting a female State Police Officer to execute their next victim. The officer’s sister needs a life-saving operation, and her getting involved with Thrall’s her only means of having the funds to pay for the surgery. Still the officer hesitates about crossing the line, but Thrall makes it seem as if the officer will actually be carrying out an act of mercy. The intended victim’s named Robert Urwiller, he’s suffered brain damage due to the lead-paint exposure and has quite a lengthy rap-sheet. Thrall says that Urwiller suffers from constant physical pain as well, and the officer would be doing a good deed by taking him out of his misery.
Thrall heads back to her apartment, and we see that she’s got a kinky side, as there’s a man waiting for her tried up and encased in a black rubber suit, with what looks like an elephant’s trunk that allows him to breathe. Rebecca asks her plaything if he’s happy to see her, and the man nods his head enthusiastically. She smiles and starts to get undressed, telling the man she’s glad to see him too.
After the court refuses to grant the warrant, Aram does some more digging and comes up with some very damning information on Waterday. Turns out the company took out a $5 million life insurance policy on Scottie Stansbury, and three other plaintiffs in the class-action suit. The other three also died at the hands of police officers, and the three officers in the other cases all got substantial loans from Waterday just before the deaths. He’s also determined that the next victim will be Robert Urwiller.
The Task-Force gets the warrant and access to Waterday’s financial records. Turns out that Johnson’s, Thrall’s rubber-suited lover, as we find out when his assistant calls him while the couple are playing. Johnson tells his assistant that he’ll return to the office immediately, and then tells Rebecca to release him, that they’re in deep trouble. She tells her playmate that they’re not in trouble, the Feds are in his office going through his files. She then closes up the rubber suit and suffocates him inside it.
While Liz and Samar try to find Urwiller, before it’s too late, Ressler’s down at the impound yard getting Prescott’s car. The vehicle’s got a flat so Donald opens the trunk to pull out the spare. Just then Cooper calls and tells Ressler that they need him in helping to stop the cop from killing Urwiller. He says he’s got the situation handled, but then sees a corpse in the car’s trunk. He tells Cooper he’s on his way.
Urwiller goes into a convenience store and asks for two scratch tickets, as the officer sits in her cruiser looking at a picture of her sister. When Urwiller gets into his car and drives off, she follows him. Aram keeps trying to reach Urwiller on his cellphone, but the man doesn’t answer, however Liz and Samar are in pursuit. The officer sounds her siren and flashes her lights and Urwiller pulls over to the side of the road. She asks him for his license and registration, but he suddenly looks up in horror as the officer’s got her weapon pointed at his head. Navabi and Keen arrive just in time to stop her.
Donald arrives a short time later driving Prescott’s car and proceeds to tell Liz that the car’s his buddy’s and there’s a corpse in the trunk and he’s going to dump the body for him. Liz apparently believes he’s kidding as she responds sarcastically. Navabi says that the cop refuses to talk and Ressler asks if he can give it a try.
He tells the officer a parable about a poor Mongolian man’s brought into a wealthy man’s office, and he’s offered $1 million if he pushes the red button on the wealthy man’s desk. If he pushes the button, an old man in Mongolia will die, he’s not told who or why, only that it will be good for the people. The man pushes the button and receives the money and goes home, but he never spends the money and eventually kills himself. He then says a friend recently told him that everybody has a Mongolian peasant in their lives, something we’re ashamed of, and as soon as somebody finds that secret they can make you do or say anything, either to cover it up or atone.
The officer confesses and then she calls Thrall and tells her she didn’t kill Urwiller. Rebecca says they still have time and she asks to meet with the officer. Thrall arrives at the designated meeting spot, sees the cruiser and attempts to shoot the cop through the driver’s side window, but her bullets don’t penetrate the bullet proof glass. Ressler comes out of hiding and cuffs her, recognizing her as the Stansbury’s attorney.
Ressler meets up with Henry Prescott and asks whose the corpse? Prescott, responds that Ressler’s mission was to recover a car, nothing more. The fixer tells Donald that he’ll be in touch soon with details about his next favor. We’re left to wonder how long Donald will suffer his Mongolian peasant.
Raymond’s Latest Scheme.
While the Task-Force were in the midst of stopping Waterday’s execution plans, Raymond and Dembe attempted to pay off an outstanding debt, that put Reddington in considerable danger while trying to gain something for themselves in the bargain. Unfortunately Red had to leave his beloved Terra Vista Motor Lodge, after three goons ransacked his room. Raymond came back to the room to find a note left by the trio saying Rivera wants you.
Raymond and Dembe easily tracked down the goons and ambushed them. The leader of the trio told Reddington that he owed their boss Rivera a shipment of guns for a couple of months, and either Red delivered the weapons, or Rivera’s gang of assassins would take him out. Raymond told the leader that he’d have his weapons within 36-hours. Dembe asked Raymond how he could pull off a seemingly impossible task, Reddington replied that the task was merely improbable.
Tom and Nik meet up with a former classmate of Korpal’s who gave up medicine and got involved with criminal activities, but Nik says the dude’s brilliant and he can help identify the bones inside the suitcase. Nik’s friend Pete and Tom don’t hit it off, but Korpal convinces the two of them to work together.
Usually when Raymond pays Glen Carter a visit at the DMV, Reddington will get stuck there for hours as his foil loves to watch Red’s agitation reach extreme levels. However this time the diminutive finder of lost persons, felt nothing but pity for the former Concierge Of Crime, and brought him into his office promptly. Raymond asked Jellybean to borrow $1 million for 48-hours, Carter gave him a hard time at first, but then broke into a grin opened up his arms and said “Who loves you baby?” Reddington managed a weak smile in return.
Reddington met with Smokey Putnam and Heddy Hawkins at a diner, to come up with plans to either build or acquire an airstrip. The two former partners-in-crime, that Raymond rescued from prison to utilize their services, were too busy arguing to formulate a plan. Red told the pair that he was leaving the project in their hands and asked them not shed each others blood while working together. Tom arrived at the diner just as the conversation was concluding, and Raymond told him that he had a role for him in his latest business venture.
Reddington, Keen and Dembe paid a visit to Adika Buhari, a second-rate gun-runner, previously the object of Raymond’s disdain, a man Red once referred to as a walrus. Reddington introduced Keen as Heath Edwards his munitions expert, he said that he wouldn’t accept any guns without Edwards inspecting them first. Buhari asked about the money and Raymond replied that wouldn’t be a problem, However the gun-runner responded that word on the street’s money’s Raymond’s biggest problem.
Just then we hear Jellybean’s voice, as he apologizes for arriving late. Buhari asks who he is and Glen gives an alias and says he’s the money guy, then opens up his briefcase revealing the million in cash. Buhari demands that he hold the money for collateral, Reddington says he can hold Edwards for collateral. The gun-runner agrees and they take Tom as their prisoner.
Hawkins and Putnam find a great plot of land for the airstrip, however the lands covered in trees and shrubbery. That’s not a problem for Smokey as he brings a crew of men with chain saws, and two former circus elephants to help clear the land. The pachyderms drag trees behind them like toothpicks and the landing strip’s finished just moments before the gun-runner’s jet appears on the horizon.
Although Buhari complains of the rough landing, the plane lands safely and after Edwards’ checks out the weapons, money’s exchanged and Raymond starts talking about a fruitful long-term partnership. Suddenly sirens are heard in the distance and Reddington asks Buhari what he’s done. The area’s soon filled with vehicles as the ATF arrive to bust the entire crew.
Raymond and Tom get put together in a paddy-wagon and Keen goes nuts, incredulous that he came to help Red because Liz asked him to and now he’s heading to prison for life. He says his only consolation’s knowing that at least Red will no longer have any involvement with Liz or Agnes. He says that Raymond tells Liz he never lies to her, but he knows better.
A short time later, Keen and Reddington get released from the paddy-wagon. Raymond set-up Buhari, and the gun-runner and Blacklist member, now was in government custody. Raymond wound up with the jet which Harold knew about, and the shipment of guns to alleviate the debt to Rivera, which Harold didn’t have knowledge of. Tom gets a call from Nik, Pete was able to get DNA from a tooth. Tom thanks him and asks him to keep him updated.
The final scene featured an unusual pairing, as Raymond and Donald told each other they didn’t have much respect for each other before they teamed up on the Task-Force. However Raymond said that Ressler’s earned and won his respect over the years, and if Donald ever found himself in a bind, Reddington would gladly rectify the situation. Ressler smiled and said not a chance.
The Story Continues Next Wednesday Night at 8:00pm on NBC.
This should be a gas! After an extremely dark fourth campaign the NBC series “The Blacklist,” returned to the airwaves on a new night and time (Wednesdays at 8:00pm) and a very enjoyable kickoff to its fifth season. Life has changed drastically for Raymond Reddington, the former concierge of crime finds himself broke, and his empire destroyed. However it appears that Raymond’s become reenergized by the prospect of starting over, and there’s a bounce in his step that’s been missing for the last couple of years.
That doesn’t mean that all of Reddington’s and “TEAM-RED’S” problems are in the past however, beginning with the suitcase that Mr. Kaplan recovered from Tansi Farms in the final episode of last season. That valise’s now in the possession of Tom Keen, although Raymond and Dembe are clueless about its whereabouts. There’s also the death of NSA Director Laurel Hitchin, who slipped and hit her head during a scuffle with Agent Donald Ressler in that same episode. Ressler utilized the services of fixer Henry Prescott to hide his involvement in her death.
Our evening begins with Raymond having a coffee near a valet station at an upscale New York restaurant. We see a red Corvette convertible pulling up to the station, when Reddington approaches the valet with a claim ticket, saying he’s been waiting 20 minutes for his Range-Rover. When the attendant says the car on that ticket had already left, Raymond demands to see the manager.
As the attendant runs off, Red masquerades as the supervisor of the valet service and apologizes to the driver of the Corvette, who cuts him off and tells him to do his job. As the couple enter the restaurant, Reddington drives off with their car, and we hear “Back In The New York Groove” on the soundtrack. Two cruisers start chasing Reddington, who takes a call from Liz on his cellphone while he attempts to elude them. Raymond tells Lizzie to meet him at his new place and tells her he’ll speak to her later. With cruisers approaching from both directions, Raymond at the last-minute maneuvers the sports car out-of-the-way and the two cruisers collide, with one flipping on its roof.
Reddington brings the car to a chop shop, and with the proceeds he gets for the vehicle he pays off a man named Dariush, who manages the Terra Vista Motor Lodge, for his outstanding balance and to pay off his room until the end of the month. He also tells the manager that he wants to foot the bill for that evening’s happy hour, for all the motor lodge’s guests. With James Brown’s “Paid The Cost To Be The Boss,” as the soundtrack, we realize that Raymond’s become a regular at the poolside of this rather seedy establishment. He plays with a young girl, throwing quarters into the pool for the child to dive and scoop-up.
After many seasons of will they or won’t they; Samar Navabi and Aram Mojtabai, have become a very passionate couple, as we watch them making out in the elevator in the Post Office. Aram, reminds Samar that they promised to keep things professional at the workplace, and she grumbles that they didn’t break any laws.
Ressler greets them at the elevator, informing the couple they’re late and Cooper’s looking for them. The Task Force Director informs them that a new Bureau Director got sworn in that morning, and his first task is an in-depth review of all of the Bureau’s special operations. Aram says that the new Director will discover that Reddington’s empire’s in ruins. but Navabi counters that the Task-Force’s been incredibly successful in capturing major criminals.
Harold responds that he’s not concerned with the Task-Force proving their worth, but he’s going to have to reveal the results of the DNA test he performed on Lizzie and Raymond, proving that Reddington’s Lizzie’s biological father. He realizes this will cause problems for Keen, but he feels obligated to disclose the information.
Keen’s flabbergasted when she sees the sub par living arrangements that Raymond finds himself in, but Red makes it sound like paradise. He’s become very chummy with Dariush and the eclectic clientele that the motor lodge services. He tries to temp Liz into dipping her toes into the pool, but she responds with a look of revulsion. She tells Raymond that Cooper sent her to find him for a new Blacklist member, and Red responds he’ll have to change into pants.
Reddington takes Liz to the office of a bail bondsman named Maurice, who immediately recognizes Red and says he wants no trouble. Raymond quickly informs him that he’s in search of employment because he desperately needs the cash, and asks for the bondsman for his toughest case. Maurice tells him he needs to find a former carny named Smokey Putnum, whose being tried for embezzling $2 million from a carnival operator. If Putnum’s not in court in 48 hours, Maurice will forfeit 80 grand in bond money. Reddington makes a deal to have Putnum back in time for 40 grand, and tells Lizzie they’re going on a road-trip as he doesn’t have a car.
Before the pair head down to Russell Springs, Kentucky, Raymond gets a call from Dembe, who is in search of the suitcase. He tells Reddington that he tracked the valise down to a bus station in Columbia Heights, but it had vanished by the time he got there. Raymond stresses to Dembe how crucial it is for them to recover the valise. As they hang up, we see Tom Keen examining the skeleton in the suitcase.
Lizzie and Reddington reach a carnival grounds in Kentucky, and we view a phone call between Keen and Cooper. Harold demands to speak to Red and starts to read him the riot act, but Raymond stops him in his tracks. He tells Cooper that the FBI will help him rebuild his criminal empire, so that Reddington can return to the status of getting the information to capture more members of the Blacklist. He then tells Harold that he’s the equivalent of deep-fried butter, unhealthy and irresistible.
Back at the Post-Office, the Task-Force’s informed that Laurel Hitchin’s body was found at her home, and she might have been the victim of foul play. Cooper tells Navabi and Ressler to head to the crime scene, he thinks Reddington’s behind her death, and he wants to make certain nothing points back to the Task-Force.
When the agents arrive at Hitchin’s home, it looks exactly the same as it did when Ressler left in a panic after she slipped and fell during their scuffle. One of the examiners at the scene tell Donald, that although there’s no sign of forced entry, Hitchin had a surveillance system in her home, That should let them determine if her death was an accident, or indeed caused by foul play. Ressler tells the examiner that he wants the results from the surveillance system yesterday.
Liz and Red burst in on two scraggly looking guys who work for the carnival, asking about the whereabouts of Putnum. One of the guys starts telling the other something in what almost sounds like Pig-Latin, Raymond explains to Lizzie that it’s a carny lingo known as Cant, to keep outsiders in the dark about their conversations. Reddington puts his pistol to the head of one of the pair, and soon Keen and Red are given the address of Putnum’s girlfriend, Tammy Lynn Thompson.
Raymond tries to convince Thompson that he’s an attorney trying to find Putnum, because a sister that Smokey didn’t realize he had left him a fortune. Lizzie walks over to an ashtray and sees a cigar sitting in it, and it’s still warm, which means Smokey’s in the house. The carny’s hiding above the suspended ceiling, and comes crashing though to the floor, after Red fires a couple of rounds into the ceiling.
Ressler panics and when he gives Henry Prescott the fee for covering up Hitchin’s death, he asks him what’s going on. He says her body was found at her home and it opened up a huge interagency investigation. Prescott tells “Mr. Sturgeon,” the name he knows Ressler by, that he removed all the evidence and the death will be ruled as accidental. As long as Mr. Sturgeon keeps his mouth shut, his involvement will never get discovered.
Putnum pleads with Liz and Reddington to let him go, he gives them an address in West Virginia, and tells them that’s where he hid the money. Raymond thanks him for the info, and says he’s turning him and then he’ll take the money. It turns out that Red knows quite a bit about Smokey Putnum, as the carny headed up all the logistic and travel plans for the Ringling Brothers Circus. Military officers studied his plans as they were far more effective than any plans that the pentagon had come up with.
Suddenly Keen sees two black SUVs behind them and she thinks they’re Federal Marshalls. Raymond says they have to lose them or he’ll get taken into custody, but Liz stops the car and says she’ll handle things. As Lizzie approaches the vehicle, Raymond realizes they’re not Marshalls, they’re actually assassins trying to take out Putnum. Keen and Red engage in a shootout with the gunmen, taking most of them out but two keep firing at their vehicle as the trio speeds away.
They get the car to a deserted road in the woods before it breaks down. Putnum tells the pair that the assassins were members of a skinhead group, that utilizes the carnival company to launder their money that they use to run a vast drug network through the prison system. He got set up by his partner, a female accountant that goes by the name of Hawkins. She struck a deal with prosecutors to testify against him in return for a lighter sentence. He tells the pair that if he goes to jail, he won’t survive long before they kill him. The car won’t budge, so the trio end up taking the bus to Cincinnati. As they reach the outskirts of the city, Putnum says he’s having a diabetic attack and Liz gets the bus-driver to drop them off at a café.
After eating a good size piece of pie and a glass of orange juice, Putnum informs them he’s feeling much better. Red’s cellphone rings, and speaks to Maurice the bail bondsman. He tells Maurice that they have Smokey in custody and they’re taking the train from Cincinnati to DC, and should arrive with time to spare. What both men are unaware of is that the skinheads have tapped Maurice’s phone and now they know exactly where the trio are.
Cooper calls Donald into his office, and starts asking him about being at Hitchin’s home the day she died. Ressler says he included that in his report, but Harold asks why he didn’t mention the bad blood between them, Donald says he didn’t think it was relevant, and Harold asked him if the woman he despised died shortly after he left her home, was just coincidence? Ressler responds either that or Karma, and Cooper says he’s satisfied with Donald’s response, but he had to ask.
Sitting at the Amtrak station in Cincinnati, Raymond starts to freak as their bus keeps getting delayed. Fearful of not making the deadline, Red tells Lizzie he’s going to steal a car. When Keen starts to object, Reddington asks her for an alternative solution. She pouts and tells him not to treat her like a child, he smiles and heads out to the parking lot to look for a vehicle he can heist.
As Red heads outside, Smokey tells Liz she’s helping Reddington because he’s her dad. He realized she was a cop when she got the bus-driver to drop them at the café, but he couldn’t figure out why she was helping Red. She says she’s helping capture a fugitive, but Putnum realizes he stuck a nerve. He then tells her he needs to use the men’s room, at first she refuses, but then she accompanies him inside. A trucker comes out of a stall, and Putnum walks over to a urinal. Liz’s modesty gets the best of her and she waits outside the restroom.
A couple of minutes later the trucker emerges from the bathroom, and Liz goes back inside to see what’s taking Putnum so long. She discovers that the carny knocked out the trucker and took his clothes. Liz gets out to the street just in time to see the skinheads abduct Putnum and drive away. She tells Raymond, who just got their getaway vehicle. He tells Keen he believes he knows where they are.
Lizzie contacts Aram and he sends her pictures of men who match the kidnapper’s description. She identifies a picture of a man named Odin Nieland. Aram tells her that he’s connected to Roman LeMarc who heads up the Friedrich Brigade, a criminal organization that runs a drug trade through the Federal Prison system.
Reddington’s hunch proved to be spot-on, as the pair surprised LeMarc and his men, as Liz pressed her pistol to the back of LeMarc’s skull, not far from where Putnum hid the money in West Virginia. Raymond told Putnum to go find his money, and told LeMarc to sit down at gunpoint. When Smokey returned with the cash, Red told LeMarc he could have his money back in exchange for Putnum. Roman said he wanted his money and Smokey, but Raymond told the criminal that he was dictating the terms because LeMarc and his men were without weapons. Liz didn’t want LeMarc to escape, and said she’d shoot the drug kingpin if he took the money, but she couldn’t shoot an unarmed man.
The trio arrived in DC 45 minutes before the trial commenced, and Putnum pleaded to call his girlfriend one last time. He wanted to have privacy to make the call, so Raymond pointed him to a bench right outside their vehicle. Smokey attempted to escape once again as he called in a bomb-threat and tried to vanish in the crowd that soon surrounded them. However Keen chased him down, and tackled him to the ground, handing him off to two policemen who took him to the courthouse.
Liz met with Cooper and told him of their adventure. He then apologized to Keen, and told her of his decision to inform the new FBI Director about the results of the DNA test. She nodded her head and said he was doing the right thing, he responded that he knew the information would make her life tougher and put he under all sorts of scrutiny. However he believed she would come through the experience in good shape as long as she didn’t lose herself.
After Raymond received his 40 grand from Maurice, Lizzie met him back at his car in a parking structure. Suddenly a paddy-wagon pulled up in front of them, containing Hawkins the accountant. However it wasn’t a real police vehicle or real cops, Raymond gave the men the bag with Maurice’s money in exchange for Hawkins. The accountant asked Reddington who he was, he explained he was her guardian angel. The Prosecutors were going to reduce her prison sentence to four-years, he reduced it to no time served. He asked her if she wanted to hear more details and she anxiously awaited the information.
With Hawkins not showing up to testify, Putnum got released and granted his freedom. Liz picked him up at the courthouse and drove him straight to the Terra Vista Motor Lodge, where Hawkins and Raymond were waiting. The two former partners balked at the idea of working together, but Reddington offered them each two percent of his corporation, to utilize their skills. Hawkins for money laundering and Smokey for logistics, Raymond suddenly had the first two members of his new team.
Cooper informs the Task-Force that the Medical-Examiner determined that Hitchin’s death was accidental, and Ressler sighs with relief, thinking he’s now in the clear. However he soon realizes that the waters haven’t calmed for him, as Henry Prescott surprises him when Donald gets into his car a short while later. Prescott realized that Reddington’s security guy, Frank Sturgeon wouldn’t be privy to police reports. So he ran Donald’s fingerprints and found out his true identity. The fixer tells the FBI Agent, that he’ll be doing some favors for Prescott over the next few months.
Dembe arrived later in the evening and Liz offered to get him a drink. He informed Raymond that he came up empty in his search for the suitcase. Raymond once again stressed that neither could rest before they had the valise in their possession.
Our final scene reunited Liz and Tom, after coming back from helping his father get back his company. They embraced and then each said they had news for the other. Lizzie went first and told Tom that Raymond’s her father, hearing that Tom pushed the valise behind the couch so Liz wouldn’t see it. She asked him what his news was, and he told her he loved her and would never leave her again. However in his mind he envisioned Raymond and Dembe shooting him down to get back the valise.
The Story Continues Next Wednesday Night at 8:00pm on NBC.
Regular viewers of the ABC freshman series “Forever,” realize that they’re emotions will get a work-out each time they watch the show. Whether you sit there with your mouth agape, as many of us did when the show revealed Adam’s identity a few weeks back, or feeling rather warm and fuzzy at the end of this week’s tale, the crew knows how to push the right buttons. This week’s episode centered around family and finding lost relatives, starting with Abe who’s attempting to find out as much about his lineage as possible, after finding out his last name at the age of seventy.
However there were other relatives who connected in this episode and though everybody’s wishes weren’t fulfilled, some revelations would change people’s lives for the better. All that and Henry and Abigail’s Honeymoon in 1955, traveling on the Orient Express.
The graphic on the screen tells us we’re starting off at the Urkesh Consulate in Manhattan, a very busy office as two clerks stamp a never-ending line of visas, allowing Americans to travel to their country. Most of the people applying state their reason for heading to Urkesh, is to visit family or for business.
However, there’s an elderly man in the line, wearing an ill-fitting toupee and looking like his days are numbered. When he gets to the clerk, he tells her he’s going to Urkesh to die, the woman looks at the man and then his passport and sees his name’s Armen Aronov her eyes get as large as pancakes. She excuses herself and walks into the man who runs the Consulate’s office and tells him he’ll never believe, who’s applying the visa and gives the man the passport, he’s just as shocked.
We next see the man in the park, sitting on the bench with a loaf of bread, feeding the pigeons, when a look of pain registers on his face. He clutches his chest, then falls off the bench, dying instantly. Mr. Aronov’s wish about dying in Urkesh, never came to pass.
Henry and Abe are eating breakfast, Morgan’s reading the paper when he notices that Abe’s reading the phonebook. It turns out that there are scores of people named Weinraub in New York, the name he found out was his birth name from Adam in the previous episode. He wants to start working on his family tree and tells Henry there’s a Weinraub that lives on Park Avenue. But then Abe apologizes and tells Henry he doesn’t need a family tree to tell him who his father is.
Detectives Martinez, Hanson and Henry’s assistant Lucas got called to the park for a possible homicide, however when Morgan arrives, Mike says that it looks like a false alarm. The man likely died of complications of lung cancer, Henry’s amazed until Jo told him that Aronov had a medical bracelet on and they spoke to the oncologist.
They’re about to wheel him into the ambulance when Morgan, notices a scar on Aronov’s abdomen and asks Lucas what he thinks it is. Lucas responds, looks like an old appendectomy scar, but Henry says look at the shape of it, then suddenly sees a scene with him operating and Abigail assisting. Lucas says it looks like he had a lousy doctor, Henry responds, perhaps the doctor didn’t have the proper operating theater, he says they’ll check out the body at the lab.
Our first flashback of the evening and we’ve joined Henry and Abigail on their delayed Honeymoon, on board the Orient Express. As they start to get amorous, Abigail asks if they can try having a baby and Henry says they’ve talked about it and it would cause him great pain to give birth to a baby, then watch his child grow old and die.
There’s a knock on the compartment door and when they open it, they see a large Eastern European soldier standing there, he says to Morgan doctor follow me. The soldier leads them to another car and a boy about ten, wearing a tunic’s groaning in pain and holding his gut. A quick exam and Henry says the boy’s got acute appendicitis and needs to be operated on immediately. They lay the boy out on a table and Morgan gets his tools and some starter fluid from the train staff, it contains ether to knockout the boy.
Henry asks the soldier where the boy’s parents are and the soldier says the boy’s very important and he’d better save him or else. Morgan says now that you threatened me, I deserve to know who he is, the soldier responds he’s the son of the King and heir to the throne of Urkesh. Henry puts the ether on the cloth and looks at the boy, then says courage, you’re the son of a king. The Prince is soon unconscious and Henry starts to slice his abdomen, when the train hits a bump, hence the shape of the scar.
Back in the present, Henry and Lucas are performing the autopsy on Aronov when we hear Jo say, we don’t allow victim’s relatives back there and a woman heads straight for the table, they cover Aronov’s body but leave his face visible. The woman’s Mrs. Aronov and Henry said her husband was from Urkesh and she’s surprised he’s heard of the country. Jo says she’s sorry for her loss and the widow says it’s the people of Urkesh you should feel sorry for, today they lost their King.
Morgan heads back to Abe’s shop and Abe’s got a blackboard with post-its all over it, he tells Henry he spoke to a cousin today in the city and he told him, that they’ve got a cousin who’s the dry-cleaning baron of Buffalo. He says perhaps he’s related to Charlemagne, Napoleon or Washington, Henry reminds him they weren’t Jewish.
The real reason Henry came to the shop was to grab a ring he gave to Abe after their Honeymoon, he tries to sneak it out but Abe catches him. He apologizes but says the ring belongs to the King of Urkesh and the sentimental value to the family’s priceless, he has to return it to its rightful owner.
Mrs. Aronov’s surprised to see Morgan at her door, he hands her the ring saying it belonged to Armen and now she and their children can have it. She says the couple wasn’t blessed to have children, then asks how he acquired it and he said he dabbles in antiques. She invites him into the apartment.
As they’re having tea, Henry says he realizes the question may sound odd, but did her husband had a good life? She smiles and says, one would think that if you were born heir to the throne, that person would resent it all their life. However Armen was just the opposite, he fulfilled all his dreams except for dying in Urkesh. Henry asked how he planned to travel receiving radiation therapy and the widow responds, her husband elected not to receive treatment. He starts to ask about the radiation, but then says he needs to go.
Morgan gets back to the lab to find Aronov’s body’s gone and he yells to Lucas where’s the King? Lucas says those guys took him and points to four men wheeling the body into the elevator. Henry tells Lucas to hold that car, Lucas steps in and make sure Henry gets in as well. After assuring the men he’s not reaching for a weapon, he pulls out a Geiger counter and the radiation in Aronov’s body’s at toxic levels. Morgan says all of them are getting irradiated and the men get out at the next floor, Henry brings the body back to the lab. The King died of poisoning.
Jo and Henry head to the Consulate and speak with the bureaucrat named Dasha, that runs the place. Martinez’s incredulous that they were unaware that their King was seven blocks away all these years and Dasha says he wasn’t my King. She says that he approved the visa and he says that’s because Urkesh runs by rules and regulations now, not a monarchy. He then excuses himself as he says he’s got work to attend to.
The pair head outside and soon see Dasha buying some food from a street-vendor, he nods for them to come over. He says he couldn’t speak freely in his office as they disapprove of talk about the King. He says Aronov asked him to expedite things and gave him a diamond the size of a grape, that seemed like a fair trade. However that’s all he knows. He then heads back to his office.
Back on the train Henry and Abigail, once again start getting into the mood, when there’s another knock on the door and the soldier’s returned. Henry asks if the boy’s okay and the soldier says he’s resting comfortably, then backs out of the doorway and in his place stands the King.
Henry apologizes and they both bow, but the King says you saved my son’s life I should bow to you. He then locks Henry in a very tight bear-hug. He says he doesn’t know how to repay them but at least have dinner with him and they smile and nod shyly. He claps his hands and about eight waiters enter the compartment, carrying trays of food and champagne.
Martinez calls Mike and asks if Lucas has identified the isotope and Lucas says its plutonium 210, Henry asks for the phone and asks what else was in his stomach, thinking he’s speaking to Lucas, but it’s Hanson who responds food. Lucas says it’s a stew with some gamey smelling meat, could be goat, Henry asks could it be yak and Lucas says he’s never had it, but sure. Henry then asks where a homesick man from Urkesh would get a great meal and Mike says A Taste of Urkesh, it’s on his credit card statement.
They head to the restaurant and asks the owner if he recognizes Aronov’s picture and he says no. Jo says he had lunch there two days ago, Henry asks him if he’s from Urkesh and the man asks what gave him away. Jo asks him his thoughts on the monarchy and the guy responds he’s an American he doesn’t think about the monarchy. Suddenly Henry’s Geiger counter starts buzzing as the metal bowl that the owner’s about to bring to the kitchen still has trace amounts of plutonium. Jo says he’s coming downtown.
Hanson and Martinez conduct the interview and Hanson says he knows the guy hated the monarchy, just admit that he poisoned him. The guy says if he knew it was Aronov he wouldn’t have poisoned him, that’s what women do, he would have stabbed him in the heart and told him to rot in Hell. Jo asks then who poisoned him and he responds, want you start with the young girl he had lunch with, maybe his mistress, green-eyes American accent. He says she was happy at first then got mad, started yelling and stormed out saying she was going back to her cage.
Back at the lab, Morgan examines the body with a blacklight and sees a temporary tattoo of a birdcage. Lucas tells him it’s the hottest club in town, called the Gilded Cage and he got turned away the week before. Jo asks Henry if he wants to go clubbing and off they go.
The hostess recognizes Aronov’s picture immediately, says they don’t get a lot of old people in the club, the apologizes to Morgan and Martinez. They ask if she knows a green-eyed girl he kept company with and she points to their cocktail waitress Lydia at the bar.
Turns out Lydia’s Armen’s illegitimate daughter given up for adoption and raised in foster care. He started coming in a few months ago, buying a soda nursing it all night then leaving huge tips. Then he told her and she was elated, he said it was a mistake to give her up and she’s special.
But the other day he started talking crazy, saying he was a King and he wanted to take me to his country and he had all sorts of presents for her there. Then he pulled out a diamond, but she knew it was too big to be real. Henry tells her everything her father said was the truth and she says, well now I’m an orphan again and has to go back to work.
Henry gets back to Abe’s shop and Abe’s on Skype, talking with his cousin from Scotland, Lachlan. Abe can barely understand his cousin, who’s a bearded red-headed giant sheep-herder. He says cheerio and has to get back to his sheep. Henry says he feels bad that he never had Abe interact with the Morgan family relatives and Abe says when your father’s immortal, family reunions are hard to pull off.
We flash back to 1955, and see Abigail’s sound asleep at the foot of the bed as the King says she’ll get upset that he bored her to sleep on her wedding night. Henry says they got married ten-years before, but this was the first chance for a Honeymoon. The King asked if children got in the way and Henry chuckles and says yes, one, our son Abraham. The King takes a ring off his finger and says a present for young Abraham, my father gave me this ring and his father to him, starting with the first of our line.
Henry says no you should give it to your son and the King says he doesn’t want to burden him, that’s why they’re on this trip to get his son out of Urkesh. He says I don’t want my son to be a King, I want him to feel free to do as he pleases. Henry asks the King what about him and the monarch says he’ll go back and face his fate. (He and the whole Royal Family got killed, only Armen survived.) He then wishes Henry and his wife luck and says good night.
Henry, Jo and Mike arrive at Mrs. Aronov’s apartment and Hanson doesn’t exactly handle the questioning all that diplomatically. First he asks if she’s aware his husband stepped out on her. She says it was 25-years ago, when she found out she couldn’t get pregnant she went into a deep depression. As she’s talking the hand holding the teacup shakes badly, which Morgan notices. Hanson then asks about her husband’s illegitimate daughter, which she had no idea about. Then Mike asks her if she killed her husband to stop him from taking his daughter to Urkesh?
Mrs. Aronov rightfully explodes, she says in another life she would have been a queen, does this look like a palace? She says she married Armen only for love, then pulls out a fistful of diamonds and asks if he thinks she’s worried about money. Then she blacks out and falls to the floor. Henry realizes she’s gotten poisoned. and pumps her stomach with a length of tubing. She survives the experience.
Jo and Hanson check the lock on the back door and note it got cut by bolt-cutters, there’s also ink all over the lock as the person who broke in had ink all over their hands and it’s the same shade as the ink at the consulate. Henry says it’s the person that stamps the visas at the consulate.
They head to the consulate but Dasha refuses to cooperate, he says he wishes he could help them just like the American girl who came in that day, claiming to be Aronov’s daughter. Morgan walks out, but Dasha says to Martinez she’s forgetting her paper, she picks it up and it has the employee’s file and picture in it.
They call Lydia and tell her to lock all the doors and windows, but it’s too late, the employee’s already inside. He starts strangling Lydia, but suddenly a baby cries. He says you have a child, she tries to stop him but he knocks her out with a punch to the head. He walks into the infant’s room pulls out a pistol and is ready to shoot him, when Martinez and Morgan burst in.
Henry puts the baby in the bathtub while Jo and the man exchange gunfire, Lydia becomes conscious, sees the guy warns Jo and Lydia’s shot in the abdomen, then Martinez kills the gunman. Henry rides in the ambulance alongside Lydia and she says she doesn’t want her son to grow up an orphan like she did. Henry looks at her and says courage, you’re the daughter of a King.
Lydia, survives the gunshot and Jo takes care of her baby while she recovers, Henry and her babysit at the hospital for about four hours and Henry heads home exhausted.
When he gets home, Abe’s little-kid happy at his newest discovery, he found an ancestor and asks Henry to guess who. Henry says he’s far too tired for guessing games and Abe tells Henry, that Henry’s his ancestor. Henry’s Uncle Dennis fathered a child out-of-wedlock and so they share the same bloodline. Both are ecstatic.
A few days later Lydia wakes up in her hospital room to find Mrs. Aronov holding her son. The older woman says she hopes she doesn’t mind but he looks just like his grandfather. A new family’s born.
Henry’s voiceover as the episode concludes, summed things up well
The truth is each of us is related, it’s just a question of how far back you trace your family tree. Deep down, all of us have shared blood in our veins. And if we’re all related, then all of us have royal blood, which is why each son should be treated like a King and each daughter treated like a Queen. No matter how old our children may be.
The Story Continues Tuesday Night February 24, at 10:00 pm on ABC.